TOP Circuit of Ireland Rally competitors will converge at Ballycultra Town in the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum today from noon for the official Qualifying Stage of this year’s Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally, Round 3 on the FIA European Rally Championship calendar and a counting round of the 2015 FIA ERC Junior Championship.
Hosted by North Down Borough Council and facilitated by the award winning Folk Museum the Qualifying Stage will see designated priority drivers take part in a special closed road stage nearby, to determine the official starting order on the first competitive day of rallying the following day (Friday 3rd).
Top local rally crew Robert Woodside and Allan Harryman learned about traditional metalworking skills from Ulster Folk & Transport Museum blacksmith Gerald Monaghan during a pre Circuit visit to the Folk Museum.
Co-driver Allan Harryman from Bangor and driver Robert Woodside from Ballyclare will be competing in an iconic Porsche 911 which returns to the Circuit’s international rally after almost 30 years.
The Circuit of Ireland Rally takes place from today until Saturday 2-4 and will be the third of ten rounds in the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship. The 2015 Circuit of Ireland will also be counting rounds of the 2015 Irish Tarmac Championship and the Northern Ireland Rally Championship.
Fans will have several opportunities to see the rally action over Easter weekend. The Qualifying Stage of the Rally will be based at Ballycultra Village, at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum today, followed by a ceremonial start at Belfast City Hall this evening. Spectator Stages will take place in Newtownards on Friday 3 April and Lisburn on Saturday 4 April.
Downpatrick will be a regroup area on Friday afternoon, while on Saturday Banbridge and Hillsborough Castle will play host to teams regrouping.
The rally will finish back in Belfast on the evening of Saturday April 4 and the winner will be crowned at Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, the site of the Rally Village, HQ and Service Park.